Suspended B.C. legislature Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz (left) and Clerk of the House Craig James make their first public statement from their lawyers’ office in Vancouver, January 2019. (CTV)

B.C. legislature officers get another week to answer accusations

Andrew Wilkinson calls for salary caps, retirement at 75 from unregulated jobs for life

The house leaders of B.C.’s three parties have extended the deadline for Clerk of the House Craig James and Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz to respond formally to B.C. Legislature Speaker Darryl Plecas’s revelations about their expense account spending and travel spree.

The men have been given until Feb. 7 to report to the legislature’s management committee, which will recommend to MLAs whether James and Lenz should continue on paid leave, have their pay suspended pending a police investigation, or be terminated based on what Premier John Horgan and the party leaders have described as “shocking” apparent abuses.

Only speakers have access to receipt filings for travel and work-related expenses, and Plecas gathered evidence while travelling twice to London and once to China with the top officers since taking the position in the fall of 2017.

COLUMN: Speaker splits legislature looting spree wide open

His disclosures were handed over to the RCMP and two special prosecutors have been appointed to look into the more serious allegations, involving stolen liquor and termination of legislature staff members who questioned the lavish spending.

RELATED: Suspended B.C. legislature officers protest treatment

RELATED: Why would the B.C. legislature need a log splitter?

B.C. Auditor General Carole Bellringer has also announced her intention to examine the $70 million budget of legislature operations, following up on former auditor John Doyle’s work in 2012 that forced MLAs to produce receipts for their housing and travel, and have them posted regularly on a website.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson has called for the same system for legislature officers, and a cap on salaries that would limit the clerk to the same salary as a provincial court judge, currently $266,000 per year.

As clerk, James was paid $347,000 last year, and billed more than $50,000 for travel. He called for the sergeant at arms salary to be capped at two thirds that of the clerk, and a mandatory retirement age of 75 for both positions, matching the policy of the Senate of Canada.

The B.C. Liberals’ 20-point ethics plan was laid out in a letter from Wilkinson and B.C. Liberal house leader Mary Polak, sent to Plecas Thursday. It recommends no foreign travel without management committee approval, and mandatory public committee meetings four times per year.

Full letter below

The disclosure of three stuffed liquor cabinets in the Speaker’s office and staff descriptions of a truckoad of liquor being removed by James led to a recommendation that there be “no purchases of alcohol, other than B.C. products to be used at public ceremonial events.”

20191229 Wilkinson Ethics L… by on Scribd


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Terrace Special Olympics host first annual Sports Day

Many carnival-style games took place

Terrace students hold city accountable for safer bike lanes

Skeena Middle School students biked to city hall to present their report

Terrace-area gold project shows strong promise

Juggernaut Exploration hopes this year’s drilling will follow last year’s exceptional program

Kitselas votes Judy Gerow as new chief councillor

Chief and council members elected June 12

Community gathers at two Terrace schools to protest SD82

Participants carried signs reading ‘We demand transparency’

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read